Shadows and Other Companions

I’m working alone outside and suddenly a shadow, rather large, is moving beside me in the gravel. It’s only happened to me a few times and only at the height of the summer when the sun is high. It’s unnerving, somewhat like having someone come up close to you at your elbow without warning.

I stop, glance around, and finally look up–an eagle, or perhaps a red-tailed hawk, circles above me, right between me and the sun.

English: clouds and shadows over the Mediterranean

English: clouds and shadows over the Mediterranean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In recent years I’ve developed an urge to sketch. Even though I enjoy writing, I’ve never done well writing to a journal. Perhaps if I kept a journal with very short entries accompanied occasionally by a sketch, I might be more productive.

My first entry would be that shadow bird on the ground beside my feet. My second entry? The seal that went with me on my walk last week. No, no–it was indeed swimming and I was indeed walking, but we were, without a doubt in my mind, together

I walk on a road beside Liberty Bay. I hadn’t gone far that morning when I noticed that black, shiny, bowling ball head swimming rather close to shore, not far from me. He was headed the same way I was. After a short distance, he dropped down into the water, and disappeared for maybe 30 seconds, but then surfaced–again almost even with me. We apparently were swimming and walking at the same speed. This continued for the distance of what would have been about a block. Occasionally he would dive, but his head was at the surface more often than not.

In my journal, I would draw his head in the water, and I’d color it in with my black felt-tip marker. It’s difficult to miss those shiny black heads when they’re swimming close by. Then I’d draw in the gentle little wake he was leaving in the quiet morning water.

I might do an entry for the stately Canadian geese I met swimming yesterday on my walk. The lead goose held its head high. The 13 geese who followed formed a teardrop shape behind their leader. I told them, “Good morning,” hoping they might turn around and join me, but they had places to be, things to do, and couldn’t be bothered to change directions.

English: Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swim...

English: Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swimming in Palatine, Illinois, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just now, as the sun is setting, I went to close the slider to the deck. I heard–and then saw–a noisy flock of Canadian geese flying by, just skimming the water. My friends? I quickly counted–13 geese. Close enough.

In my journal Number 14 would be down in the corner of the page, visiting with the seal.

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